Charter Standard clubs in Cumbria converge for summer festival.
The largest football festival in Cumbria took place earlier this month at Frenchfields in Penrith where the Cumberland FA’s Charter Standard Club Festival rewarded Clubs in the County for all their hard work over the year by providing the free festival to end the season.
The festival, now in its sixth year, was the largest in the history of this prestigious event, with 164 teams taking part during the weekend over 15 pitches and approximately 3000 spectators enjoying the event.
Craig Lewis, Football Development Officer, said: “The commitment shown this year from all our Charter Standard Clubs has been fantastic and we thank all who attended. This tremendous effort continues to highlight the dedication shown to the ethos of Charter Standard, and the unrelenting devotion to raising the standards of football within our County.”
A change in format and more pitches available meant more age groups could enjoy the festival atmosphere. This season U8, U9, U10, U11, U12 and U13 boys/mixed teams were invited to take part while U8, U10, U12, U14 and U16 girls' teams also got involved.
The event was not just about the matches, as players were given a chance to test their skills in the ‘Football Cage’ kindly provided by Cumbria Fire Service and The FA Respect inflatable pitch.
Saturday saw almost 1000 players take to the pitches and play. With Clubs coming from across the County, it gave opportunities for teams to play against new opposition from different Leagues. A disability football awareness session was also run by Paul Jennings (Disability Football Development Officer) giving coaches and players the opportunity to have a go in the inflatable Respect pitch. Carlisle United FC kindly provided an opportunity for teams to get their photo with the Johnstone Paint Trophy which they won earlier in the summer.
The following day more than 500 girls and 300 boys took part in the event as the cloudy skies did not dampen the mood, and there was some great football played across the age groups. Special guest, Arsenal and England International Steph Houghton
was on hand to give players their medals and certificates, as well as sign autographs and answer questions. Penrith Cheerleaders also made an appearance, promoting their club and giving a number of displays throughout the afternoon.
The weekend was run with the help of young volunteers involved in the County FA’s Football Futures programme. Helen Aitchison, Girls & Women’s Football Development Officer, explained: “The importance of volunteers to grassroots football cannot be underestimated. The Football Futures programme is an opportunity for young volunteers, the next generation to develop their skills and gain experience. The festival is a great way for them to see all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in the organisation of such an event and also from the teams involved over the weekend.”
The event also gave local referees, both new and experienced, the opportunity to practice their skills in a fun and friendly environment.
Each participant received a medal and a certificate for their attendance, with every team receiving a football courtesy of Cumberland FA.
This year, Cumberland FA has adopted CFM’s Cash for Kids as its official charity. A raffle was held and monies raised will be passed onto the charity (final total to be confirmed). Courage the Cat also made an appearance over the weekend, helping to raise awareness of the charity and to meet the players.
Cumberland FA would like to thank everyone involved in the event, including Eden District Council, Nuclear Management Partners, the referees and all the staff and volunteers who enabled the weekend to run smoothly.
For more details on The FA Charter Standard Award, or any other football related queries, please contact the Cumberland FA on 01900 872310 ext. 21, or e-mail charterstandard@CumberlandFA.com